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governed with magnificence, taxing enormously the rich, but, remembering perhaps his own origin, letting the poor go free. His renown extended to Europe, and his power was done deference to even by the Celestial emperor. There is extant a characteristic speech of this man made to the ambassador of the Spanish Indies :
"" The kingdom of Japan," he said, "containeth above sixty states, or jurisdictions, which, from long time, had been sorely afflicted with internal broils and civil wars; by reason that wicked men, traitors to their country, did conspire to deny obedience to their sovereign lord. Even in my youth did this matter grieve my spirit, and from early days I took counsel with myself how this people might best be made subject to order, and how peace might be restored to the kingdom. That so mighty a work might be brought about, I especially essayed to practise these three virtues which follow:-Therefore I strove to render myself affable to all men, thereby to gain their good will : I spared no pains to judge all things with prudence, and to comport myself with discretion : nothing did I omit to do that might make men esteem me for valour of heart and fortitude of mind. Now, by these means, have I gained the end I sought. All the kingdom is become as one, and is subject to my sole rule. I govern with mildness, that yields only to my energy as a conqueror. Most especially do I view with favour the tillers of the ground; they it is by whom my king, dom is filled with abundance.
"“ Severe as I may be deemed, my severity is visited alone on those who stray into the ways of wickedness. Thus hath it come to pass, that at this present time, peace universal reigns in the empire; and in this tranquillity consisteth the strength of the realm. Like to a rock, which may not be shaken by any power of the adversary, is the condition of this vast monarchy under my rule."
From the connexion of the Japanese with the Mongolian race, and the proximity of their country to the Chinese empire, it might naturally be supposed that their religion would partake of the character of that most common in these countries. This, however, is not altogether the case. Buddhism prevails to a great extent, and tinctures every other form of worship; but it is by no means predominant. We believe there are some thirty different kinds of religion in Japan, all of which are equally tolerated. The national and original faith of the people is, however, peculiar to Japanese, and like all the ancient heathen faiths, it is mythological. In a certain sense, also, it is historical. It may be interesting to Mr. Parker and Mr. Newman to be told that
spiritualism ' has not yet found its way to this remote country. The national religion of Japan is denominated Sinsyn, Mr. Macfarlane tells us, from the words Sin (the gods) and Syn (faith).' Its votaries are called Sintoos. According to this religion, the Supreme Deity is selfexistent and self-created, .sprung from primeval chaos. After him, from the same source, arose two . creative gods,' who from chaos framed the earth.
• The universe,' says this wild and curious superstition, was then governed for myriads of years, by seven gods in succession. They are called the Celestial Gods. The last of them was the only one that had a wife, and to him the earth we inhabit owes its existence. Once upon a time he said to his wife, “ There should be, somewhere, a habitable earth. Let us seek it under the waters that are seething beneath us." He plunged his spear into the water, end as he withdrew it, the turbid drops that trickled from the weapon congealed and formed a great island. This island was Kewsew, the largest of the eight which then constituted the world--for Japan was then all the world. Eight millions of gods
were then called into existence, and the ten thousand things necessary to mankind were created. The plastic divinity then committed the government of the whole to his favourite daughter, Ten-sio-dai-zin, the Sun Goddess, whose reign was shortened to the space of 250,000 years. She was succeeded by four other gods, who altogether reigned two million and odd years. These are the Terrestrial Gods. The last of them, having married a terrestrial wife, left a mortal son upon earth, named Zin-mu.ten-wou, the ancestor and progenitor of every Daïri or Mikado that has ruled in Japan. Of all these gods of Sintoo mythology, none seem to be objects of great worship except the Sun Goddess; and she is too great to be addressed in prayer, except through the mediation of the inferior Kami, or of her lineal descendant, the Mikado. The Kami consist of 492 born gods, and 2,640 canonized or deified mortals. All these are mediatory spirits, and have temples dedicated to them.' Mr. Macfarlane adds, that he writes "doubtingly' of this ancient and weird faith, on account of the evident admixture with it of other forms of belief. Dr. Siebold, from whom Mr. Macfarlane has evidently derived most of his information, writes that the Sintoos believe in the immortality of the soul, in a future state of rewards and punishments, in heaven and in hell. The primary duties of this religion consist in the constant preservation of pure fire, as the emblem of purity; in purity of soul, heart, and body; an exact observance of festival days; pilgrimage; and the worship of the “Kami' or gods both in the temples and at home. It is a remarkable fact in these and minor regulations that they bear an exact resemblance to the institutions of Moses. The first four that we have enumerated are identical with the laws of the Jews, and like those laws have all reference to an inward purification symbolized by the outward rites. The fifth may be regarded as, doubtless, having been once symbolical of the duty to 'worship God alway,' at home as well as in His peculiar abode, but like the institution of images in the Roman Catholic Church, the worship of the thing signified
degenerated into the worship of the thing by which it was signified. In many other instances, particularly in the law of defilement by contact with the dead, and the consequent necessity of a ' seven days' purification,' and in the custom of annual' pilgrimages to the Sun goddess, a near resemblance to the Jewish faith may be recognised. As the universal tradition amongst all nations of the great Deluge seems to confirm the accuracy of the Scripture history, and the theory of the common origin of mankind, so does this barbaric religion of the truth of the Mosaic narrative in Leviticus and Deuteronomy; confirming also the fact that the parent religion was a thing of no recent origin, or a nation which dates its existence as a people united under one government from a time anterior to the birth of Christ more than six centuries, could not have had it incorporated into their national life and belief.
We have mentioned that Buddhism also prevails in Japan, but of its uses or rites our reader need not be informed. The third chief religion of the empire is Suto, or doctrine of the philosophers. It is the creed of the higher classes, and consists of a refined mysticism, which
may be denominated the worship of the Spirit of Nature. The other religions are various, and none of them is punished excepting the Christian. All are on an equality, both as to public honour and emoluments, and dissensions amongst their professors are scarcely ever known. Indeed, so accommodating are the Japanese, in regard to the faith of their brethren, that one writer states that they will occasionally worship each other's gods, out of mere politeness and courtesy! At a certain time, when religious disputes ran higher than recently, the Government, we are told, decided them in a summary manner, whipping, and even beheading some of the fiercest of the controversialists. Summary' indeed! and a course, we are afraid, that would have put a stop even to the Arminian and Pelagian controversies.
It is a remarkable circumstance in connexion with the religious professions of the Japanese, that at the time when the Portuguese discovered the isles, there existed a sect whose doctrines bore the strongest resemblance to those of the purest Christianity. They comprised, according to Mr. Meylan, the existence, death, and resurrection of a Saviour, born of a virgin, with almost every other essential dogma of Christianity, including the belief in the Trinity.' This form of religion was said to be introduced in the reign of the Chinese emperor, Minti, who ascended the Celestial throne about A.D. 50. Mr. Macfarlane, and an able anonymous writer in the Quarterly Review,' suppose from these statements, that one of the apostles or early Christians may have visited India and Japan immediately after the death of Christ; but until the evidence is more conclusive than that founded upon the mere tradition of a people, of whom we still know almost next to nothing, compared with what doubtless might be known on greater intimacy being established with them, we must refuse our assent to this hypothesis.
We have left ourselves little space to sum up the remaining characteristics of this remarkable country. Of its physical features we can here say nothing. Its extent has been calculated at 160,000 square miles ; its population is assumed by Mr. Macculloch, always a careful writer, at not less than 50,000,000, but Mr. Macfarlane estimates it at only half that number. Certain it is that the country is everywhere densely peopled. Its principal city, Yedo, or Jeddo, was more than a century ago supposed, by observers, to contain nearly two millions of inhabitants; while Miaco, the residence of the ecclesiastical emperor, contained, at the same time, according to census, 500,000 inhabitants. The description by the Spaniard, Don Rodrigo de Velassio, of the way in which village joins to village and town to town for miles together, reminds us of our impression of the large town of Kirkaldy.'
Life in these cities does not differ materially from life in our own or any European towns. The Japanese are essentially a sociable, pleasure-seeking people. They work hard, and, as somebody once said, 'play hard.' Theatres flourish all over the country, and · buy a bill of the play,' we are told, is as often heard in Jeddo as in London. Ladies amuse themselves with painting, drawing, and ornamental working. Their love of flowers is remarkable. The people are fond of reading, and, Mr. Macfarlane says, have plenty of all kinds to read. Popular festivals are as common as once they were with ourselves, and at them music and the dance are largely encouraged. Indeed, says Kämpfer, joy, mirth, and hospitality are universal.' Their customs and amusements, in fine, correspond with the character universally ascribed to the people, of whom Xavier said, I know not when to have done when I speak of the Japanese. They are truly the delight of my heart.' The narrative of the pilot Adams shows them to be grateful, affectionate, and liberal to a high degree. Kämpfen speaks of their
busy and industrious' habits. The Jesuit missionary, Froes, describes them of an excellent natural disposition.' Sir Edward Belcher, who had a brief interview with some of the people in 1843, says that the gentlemen of Japan were most polite and courteous, conducting themselves with refined and polished urbanity, and exhibiting in their actions a dignified and respectful demeanour, that put to shame the ill-breeding of the seamen who ventured to laugh at them. They are frank, open-hearted, truthful and courageous. On the other hand, they are licentious, rash, and, says Mr. Rundall, 'haughty and vindictive.' That they are a highly civilized people cannot now be questioned. They are acquainted with every art of working in metals; their silk and cotton manufactures are said to excel the productions of most Eastern countries; their art of lacquering in wood is well known; they make glass coloured and uncoloured ; looking-glasses, telescopes, and watches. Paper is manufactured in great abundance,' and printing is said to have been known more than two hundred years previous to its invention by Faust and Guttenberg in Germany. In working of steel they excel most people, and their tempering is admirable. Carving and dye-sinking they also know, and they have a stamped copper coinage. They also understand the art of casting statues in metal. Guns and cannons of superior workmanship are used in warfare. Their great manufacturers are literally merchant princes, but the customs and castes of society prevent their moving from their circle. Schools are established all over the country, and all are taught to read and write. But the best proof of the real civilization of the Japanese is to be found in their treatment of the female sex. Their condition is unquestionably superior to that of the women in any other Oriental country. They are subjected to no seclusion, and hold a fair station in society. Their manners are kind, polite, and chaste, and their purity is proverbial. • A faithless wife,' says a well-informed writer, - is, we are universally assured, a phenomenon unknown in Japan.'
It is deeply to be regretted that a people so amiable, intelligent, and civilized, should be shut out by the arbitrary laws of a jealous and arbitrary government from intercourse with the nations of the world. Our readers know that the American Government has sent an expedi. tion to break through the barrier of these laws. That they will eventually succeed we have no doubt, but perhaps not until they have gone through the bloody ordeal of war. They will not have patience to wait and persevere, till the prejudices of the Government give way to reason and the argument of interest. Their right to force an intercourse with an unwilling people we seriously question. It is, we know, said, and we are not surprised to see that Mr. Macfarlane gives his assent to the proposition, that the Japanese law is contrary to the established law of civilized nations, and that no government has a right so to place itself out of the pale of nationality. But we deny the morality of the doctrine; and the United States would be the first and loudest to protest against its application to itself. Was the consent of Japan asked to the established law of nations?' Did she ever do a positive injustice or injury to any other people? Who can charge her with such a gigantic crime as now exists in the United States Sla. very truly exists in Japan, but the slave is a man, and protected by every law that protects his master. The truth of the matter is, that Japan lies in the course from the State of California to the Chinese Empire, and it would be convenient and profitable to secure a har. bourage and commerce with her. She has coal, in which California and the Pacific states are deficient. But are law and morality to be outraged that the United States may reap a few more thousand dollars from the gains of commerce and navigation ?
The Teachers of Popular Infidelity.
G. J. HOLYOAKE.
Most intelligent Christian people have an impression-warned to that effect by Dr. Whately some five-and-twenty years ago—that the infidelity of the nineteenth, is not that of the seventeenth or eighteenth century; and that its popular living exponents are more decorous, if not better, men than the Carlile and Taylor of the last generation. But the notion of the thing is a vague one, with all but the observant few; and the general sentiment towards the men is, that the less they shock the more they are to be feared. The precise relation of this infidelity and its teachers to the mass of the people—or to that intelligent artizan class’ which statesmen and religionists agree in regarding as the colouring matter of English society—is likewise unknown : it is only known that that class is not Christian in any satisfactory sense of the term. I am glad to have obtained leave to exhibit, through the · CHRISTIAN SPECTATOR,' some views of the subject that may contribute to its better understanding. If I succeed in my own purpose, I shall serve Christianity without displeasing its impugners.
I am anxious, in the first place, to say, that it is with much reluctance I use the term infidelity' in the superscription of these papers. I have carefully cast about for a word that should be at once equally indicative and less objectionable-but cannot find it. The thing I mean is—hostility to Christianity as a revealed religion ; including Atheism and Deism-disbelief in God, and rejection of Christ as a supernaturally authorized teacher. I should be glad to see the epithet infidel,' restricted to its strict significance one who is unfaithful.'